As most of you will have picked up on, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, October 12. Although it is usually individuals who are honored, this is not the first time an organization was chosen. The International Red Cross, Amnesty International and the UN High Commission for Refugees are prominent in the list of previous winners. And the Nobel committee has often made controversial choices.
Personally, I welcome this year’s decision. After two devastating world wars, I think it close to a miracle that France and Germany have been able to resolve their enmities to create an alliance run by bureaucrats rather than soldiers. You can think what you like about butter mountains and milk lakes, and standardized condoms. But I prefer the pleasure of complaining about these attempts to create common ground to the pain of mourning the dead from World War III. Europe – despite the Euro crisis – is experiencing an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity and we have the European Union to thank for that. The challenges this organization faces continue to increase and demonstrate the necessity of further integration rather than the preservation of cherished national sovereignty. The prize – which will have precious little impact on the EU budget – is a signal, recognition of the vision and the hard work of the past 50 years. Watch this space.
Was the awarding of this prize a wise and even long-overdue decision? Is it a political message to Norway itself, a non-EU member? Were other, more worthy candidates overlooked for this year’s honor?